Wells Fargo's latest high-level hire will oversee sales practices

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Wells Fargo has hired an outside executive to oversee the area that has long been the biggest source of regulatory problems at the scandal-ridden bank: sales practices.

Michael Cleary, who previously served as head of consumer and business banking at Santander Bank, recently joined Wells. He reports to Scott Powell, who was also his boss at Santander, and who became Wells Fargo’s chief operating officer in December.

Cleary’s title at the San Francisco-based megabank is head of sales practices oversight and management, according to a bank spokesman.

“In this role, Michael will establish an integrated and consistent approach to sales practice monitoring, analytics, and reporting across the company,” the spokesman said in an email.

“He will develop the go-forward framework and roadmap to ensure Wells Fargo has in place the right policies and procedures, controls, escalation points, and remediation protocols to comply with the various regulatory requirements and provide industry-leading sales practice oversight.”

Cleary is the latest high-level outside hire by Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf, who joined the bank in October.

Like both Scharf and Powell, Cleary is a JPMorgan Chase alumnus. And like both Scharf and Powell, he will be based in New York City, rather than either San Francisco or Charlotte, N.C., which is where most of the company’s top brass were traditionally based.

Wells continues to grapple with the fallout from its phony-accounts scandal, which exploded into view more than three years ago. The bank’s retail sales practices — and in particular, how low-level employees were pressured to sell more products — were at the heart of that imbroglio.

Last month, former Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf agreed to pay a $17.5 million fine and acceded to a lifetime ban from the banking industry over his role in the fake-accounts scandal.

Since October, Wells has announced $3.1 billion in litigation accruals in connection with retail sales practices and other matters.

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Career moves Consumer banking C-suite Crime and misconduct Charles Scharf Wells Fargo Santander